Periodontal Care Irvine, CA
Dr. Ursula Levine, DDS | Levine Dentistry, Inc.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums. Some official estimates indicate that up to 50 percent of American adults are affected by periodontal disease, though many do not even know that they have it. Periodontal disease can range from mild to severe. As it progresses, it can damage the soft tissues, leading the gums to pull away from the teeth. Further progress damages the bone tissue that supports the teeth, causing them to loosen, which may also require extraction. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the U.S.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are usually the first line of defense against mild gum disease. This is also called a deep cleaning, or periodontal therapy, to remove plaque and tartar deposits from the surfaces of the teeth, including the roots. The removal of bacteria helps the gum tissue heal.
After scaling and root planing, antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed to help control the gum infection and pain, and to aid in healing. The medications may be taken in a pill or mouthrinse, or may be directly placed in the pocket after the deep cleaning.
Reducing Periodontal Pockets
As periodontal disease advances, it causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming “pockets.” These pockets allow bacteria to multiply rapidly, because the organisms are protected inside of them. This leads to additional tissue damage, which causes the pocket to grow even further, leading to a vicious cycle.
Deep pockets are impossible to clean with at-home daily care. Professional treatment is needed to remove bacteria from the pockets and secure the tissue back into place. After the pockets have been cleaned, they are re-checked at a later appointment by measuring the pocket depth, to ensure that the treatment was effective. If pockets do not heal, or if the bone has developed an irregular surface (making it an easier place for bacteria to hide), they may require laser surgery to remove inflamed tissue and repair damage to the bone in the area.
If periodontal disease has destroyed the bone supporting the teeth, surgical procedures can help to repair some of the damage and rebuild the bone and surrounding soft tissue. Tissue grafts encourage the body to naturally regenerate some amount of bone and other tissues. Tissue-stimulating proteins are medications that can also be helpful in encouraging the body to rebuild.
If the gums have significantly recessed, exposing the roots of the teeth, a gum graft can help. There is a range of surgical techniques designed to reduce further gum recession, relieve discomfort, and help prevent future bone loss. It also improves the appearance of the smile.
After getting gum disease under control, more frequent checkups and cleanings may be necessary for a period of time to ensure that the gums stay healthy.
Periodontal Care at our Dental Practice Irvine, CA
The health of your gums is a crucial part of your oral health. For more information about periodontal care in Irvine, please call 949-727-9600 or email us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ursula Levine today.